Let’s talk about food. Many (most?) of us look forward to our cruises because of the variety and quantity of foods we can enjoy during our trips. From breakfast buffets to poolside burgers, chicken sandwiches and fries, to elegant gourmet dinners prepared by expert chefs, we come to enjoy all that the cruise ships serve up.
And don’t forget the frequent trips to the soft-serve ice cream machines, or the midnight pizza runs.
These meal and snack experiences represent the classic standards offered on most cruise ships. Carnival’s newest flagship Carnival Horizon offers all this and more, with an incredible array of dining venues that will make your head spin and mouth water.
Aside from the main dining rooms and the Lido Buffet area, Carnival Horizon has nine awesome eateries that are changing the game for cruise meals.
Guy’s Pig & Anchor – To me, this is the new jewel of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. This craft brewery and barbecue joint has got the casual feel and cool vibe that I love when I go out for a meal and a beer or two when I’m back home. Now, you get it on a ship. Guy’s Pig & Anchor features embarkation day and sea day lunches at no extra charge. You grab a plate full of meats and sides from the buffet set up on the promenade just outside the restaurant. Dinners (a la carte pricing) are available every night, and you can stroll in when hunger strikes and grab a rack of ribs, prime rib, brisket, pulled pork or dry-rub chicken. Sides and apps include cornbread, chipotle chicken wings, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, beans and french fries. All better when washed down with one of the four craft beers brewed in the onboard microbrewery.
Bonsai Sushi – This eatery is open for lunch and dinner. Bonsai Sushi serves up standard favorites like rolls, sashimi, skewers and appetizers at a la carte prices. You can also order Bento boxes, noodle bowls and Japanese small plates like chicken katsu, shrimp tempura and teriyaki steak.
Cucina del Capitano – You probably want to skip lunch before dining at Carnival Horizon’s Italian restaurant. The breads, appetizers, soups, salads, pastas and entrees fill the table in an endless parade from the kitchen as you and your tablemates dine family style. Plus, you won’t be able to resist desserts such as Magic Tiramisu or Sicilian Cannolis. Cucina del Capitano also offers pasta lunches at no extra charge.
JiJi Asian Kitchen — Flavors and preparations that put the spotlight on traditional cuisine from all over the Far East. Recipes originate in China, Vietnam, Singapore, Mongolia, Philippines and Indonesia. JiJi Asian Kitchen features family-style dining, and you share plates of appetizers and main courses like Nanjing-style duck, tamarind and shrimp soup, peppered beef and Wagyu beef short rib and Kung Pao chicken. Dinner has a cover charge, but JiJi’s offers stir-fry lunches that are included in your fare.
Seafood Shack – This is Carnival Horizon’s casual seafood eatery located at the back of the ship on Deck 10. The food is priced a la carte, and the menu includes New England clam chowder, buckets of fried buffalo shrimp or clam strips, lobster rolls, crab cakes, oysters and snow crab, peel and eat shrimp and lobster by the pound.
Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse – A meat lover’s delight. Carnival Horizon’s steakhouse serves all your favorite cuts and hearty sides. Fahrenheit 555 (cover charge) has the atmospheric feel of the traditional steak joint on land, with rich red and brown décor and meals served in dimly lit conditions while a pianist plays familiar pop tunes in the adjacent Piano Bar.
Bonsai Teppanyaki – This is the most fun meal on the ship – and surprisingly filling, too. Course after course is whipped up by the teppanyaki chef who whirls, spins, flips and splashes eggs, rice, butter and sauces on the hot grill to the amusement of the diners. This venue seats 16 total people at two grills and fills up fast throughout the cruise. So, make a reservation early to have a meal here (cover charge).
BlueIguana Cantina – One of our favorite dining spots for breakfast or lunch is included in your fare. We love to grab a filling breakfast burrito here to avoid the crowds in the main buffet area. BlueIguana Cantina is located on the lido deck adjacent to the main pool, and burritos come in wheat or jalapeno wraps or a bowl, and you customize it with ingredients like chicken, pork, beef or shrimp along with black beans, rice, grilled veggies and the extensive salsa bar. You can also get fish, pork or chicken tacos.
Guy’s Burger Joint – Saving one of the best deals at sea for last, it’s the legendary Guy’s Burgers, long a Carnival Cruise Line passenger favorite. The best part: There is no fee! That’s just an incredible additional benefit for cruisers on Carnival Horizon when compared with Royal Caribbean, which charges for premium burgers at its Johnny Rockets eateries.
I consider Guy’s Burgers the best burgers at sea, and you can order juicy creations like the all-bacon “Pig Patty,” barbecue burgers, chili burgers and cheeseburgers. The handcut seasoned fries are delicious, too, and the venue includes a toppings bar, so you can load your burger with mushrooms, bacon and other goodies.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.